Spring AS XXXV (2001)
Volume VI, Issue 3 (#22)

From the Nachalnik

The last time that I missed Pennsic was Pennsic XX. Thus, it seems rather poetic that I'll miss Pennsic XXX this year. It's the usual tired story of the new job and not being able to get the time off to go. But what it means is that if there is going to be any sort of SIG gathering this year at Pennsic, someone else is going to have to organize it. Most years, we have done a party (the "Festival") and a meeting (the "Class"). Last year, we tried just doing the party. What happens this year depends on you folks. Contact me if you would like to organize anything this year. I would be happy to coordinate the planning but will not be able to attend.

It is becoming part of a pattern, but (again) we are awfully short on material for Slovo this time. I am always looking for new articles, book reviews, and so on to include here. And while I realize that it does not offer the same immediate gratification of posting to a listserv, Slovo is much more visible to the general public. In short, submit!

Financial contributions also keep this whole thing happening and I want to thank Peotr for his financial help this quarter (as well as thanking him for the lovely articles and artwork).

Some Thoughts on "Slavic" Folklore

By David Russell Watson

[Editor's Note: David can be reached at: David R. Watson, P.O. Box 6318, Pahrump, NV 89041, WtsDv@aol.com]

I would like to draw your attention to some errors in Ryan Myers's article "Slavic Folklore" which appeared in the Winter 1999 issue of Slovo. The article describes a heroic ballad called "Iry Dada." To my knowledge the first appearance in print of "Iry Dada" was a version in the Ossetic language with an English translation by the Russian historian George Vernadsky. This version can be found in the Journal of American Folklore 69: 273 (July-September 1956).

In comparing Vernadsky's supposedly original version (more on that below) with Myers's description of it, two major descrepancies are immediately apparent. First is the ethnicity of the tale (Myers claims that it is "Slavic" but Vernadsky presents it as a historical epic of the Ossetian people -- who are not Slavs). Second is the complete reversal of the role of the character of Iry Dada. In Myers's recounting, Iry Dada is described as "a young Slav" and fights on behalf of the Kievans, but in Vernadsky's account Iry Dada is the champion of the Ossetians. Since Iry Dada is the title character this is a significant difference. There are a number of other minor differences and omissions in Myers's version as well.

There is an additional problem. Vernadsky's article was reviewed and criticized by Professor W. B. Henning in the Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies XXI (1958): 315-18, and by V. I. Abaev in Izvestija Akademii Nauk SSSR, Otdelenie literatury yazyka XVII (1958): 1: 72-74. In these critiques both scholars claim that "Iry Dada" was probably a forgery written by an Ossetian colleague of Vernadsky's to bolster some of his theories on Slavic and Ossetian history.

It would be wonderful to determine once and for all if it actually has roots in Slavic or Ossetic folklore, or if it is purely an historical forgery. However, as it stands, it would seem that the "Tale of Iry Dada" is definitely not Slavic and possibly not even a real folktale.

Economical Period Russian Body Armor
Part Two: The Bozolban

By Mordak Timofei'vich Rostovskogo

My next worry in creating economical Russian armour was protecting my forearms while maintaining a Russian look to my armour. After some quick research on the internet of the Armoury Collection in the Hermitage Museum, I realized that bozolbans were shallow, elongated bullet shaped armguards. They extend from wrist to just past the point of the elbow and have another rounded plate covering the inside of the arm from wrist to 1" short of the inside bend of the elbow.

The tools needed are a Whitney punch to make evenly spaced holes along the length of each plate, a metal rod 5/16" in diameter and 24-36" long, a drill, a wire cutter or Dremel tool, a pair of medium needle-nosed pliers, a file, and some kind of saw to cut the metal. The materials needed are a piece of leather, stell or tempered or 14 gauge aluminum 1" wider than the measurement from your wrist to the point of your elbow and 24" long, a 12" by 12" piece of closed cell foam, such as a thermal pad for a sleeping bag.

In the museum pieces, this inside piece actually had three strips running along the arm from wrist to the point before the elbow and connected together by chainmail links along their lengths. A Whitney punch is ideal for creating holes along the edge of these pieces for chainmail links. While this is certainly possible and violates no Society armour rules, I prefer one solid plate on the inner arm to three for the sake of rigidity and safety. Three will work with strips of closed cell foam adhered along their lengths on the inside edge but I prefer peace of mind. The problem was in how to cover the joints of the elbow to pass armour specs.

Not relishing the idea of arm casts, bone bruises or nasty armour bites, I ruthlessly stole an idea from a Turkish persona heavy fighter in Kentucky named Ustad Hasan. He wears a rounded elbow cup without a side wing under his bozolban and merely pads the inside of the large plate at the wrist. Although he insists that no padding has ever been needed on the rest of that plate over the last four years, you could pad it if you wish using strips of closed cell foam adhered to the inside surface. Another idea of Ustad's that I used was heavy aluminum, like that used in street signs. Though I would never advocate their use, they do make excellent armour, I am told. Ustad's lasted four years in weekly fighter practices, weekly melees and weekend tournaments, as well as Gulf Wars and Pennsic every year. Best of all, they are easy and cheap to makeutilizing common workshop tools on a single Sunday.

On Bukhara

By Peotr Alexeivich Novgorodski

[Editor's note: Lord Peotr missed Pennsic last year, but he had a fabulous reason to do so. Instead of Pennsic, he went to Central Asia. This article is part of a continuing series of pieces about his travels.]

The best city on the desert caravan routes is the walled citadel of Bukhara. It is even hotter here than Samarkand. However, the Musselmen who inhabit this place are very clever. They build canals and ponds to cool the city and even plant trees. The buildings are low because, they say, the earth is uncertain here and shakes at times. Outside all is white washed and blinding at midday, though pleasant enough before dawn and after sunset.

They have no wood, but build of mudbrick, white washed. All the important buildings are stone or brick -- the Citadel, Tower, caravansarai and markets. Storks, which feed on frogs and fishes in the canals and pools, build nests in the trees and on the buildings. They are deemed a sign of good luck.

The markets are the jewels of Bukhara. The ruler rebuilt three new markets with stone vaulting, named for the moneychangers, jewelers and hat makers. There are also a large spice and slave markets here. The people of the city are very diverse -- mainly Musselmen, but also Nestorian Christians, idol worshippers from far India, fire worshippers and Jews. Caravans rest and recover here on their long journeys. There are secure rooms and compounds to store goods and protect horses and camels of travelers. It is the quality and security of these caravansarai to which Bukhara owes its wealth and fame. The evenings are very fine when breezes arise from the waters.

Then there is music and dance, roast lamb and mutton, large round breads, yogurt and large pots of "plov" (a feast meal of the grain rice and vegetables). They have a wonderful and monstrous fruit, being up to the size of a two-year old child, called melon, with delicate flesh. Sadly, they have nothing whatsoever in the way of meads or beers.

Bukhara is home to many saints of the Musselman religion. It is a center for their priests and has many open courtyard monasteries, which they call "medressas." Here there are great number of scholars, calligraphers and bookbinders. Indeed their drawings are most wonderful, though the script is completely illegible. They have a material we do not have for their manuscripts and scrolls said not to be vellum, but I could not understand what this material was nor how it was made. They have many wise men who watch the stars and are said to foretell events by this method. The city is such a center of learning throughout the land it is said, "Elsewhere light radiates from heaven unto earth, in holy Bukhara it radiates upwards to illuminate heaven."

It is something of a miracle that the city survives at all. Ghengis Khan himself besieged and stormed this place not more than two generations ago. It is said of the battle, "The forces of Ghengis Khan proceeded to encamp before the citadel and his troops were more numerous than ants or locusts, being a multitude beyond estimation or computation. Detachment after detachment arrived each like a billowing sea, and encamped round the town. At sunrise an army of 20,000 defenders issued form the citadel. The Mongol army fell upon them and left no trace of them. Wise men say that when it is impossible to flee from destruction in any manner, then patience is the best and wisest course. On the morning of the following day when from the reflection of the sun the plain seemed to be a tray filled with blood, the people of Bukhara opened the gates and closed the door to strife and battle. Ghengis Khan then entered the city and stabled his horses in the mosque."

That he spared much of the citadel and especially the tower is another tale worth telling. Kalon Minaret, the name meaning "Great Tower," is one of the wonders of the world. It is, without doubt the tallest building in the world east of Saint Sophia's in Constantinople. One can climb the long dark spiral stair to its summit and from there look out and see caravans approaching, even more than a day's journey distant. After the Mongol Horde took the city Ghengis Khan rode in to inspect it. Being close to the tower, he looked up craning to see its apex. Thus looking his hat fell off. He had to dismount and bent to retrieve his hat. Then he said, "As this tower has done what no man could, in making me bow before it, I will spare it." And he did.

History of Hungary

By Zofia Borek

  • 8 BC Tiberius organizes area west of the Danube into a province called Pannonia. One military camp, Aquincum, lies in present-day Budapest.

  • 434 AD Carpathian basin is an outpost of the Hun Empire.

  • 456 AD Aryan Christianity taught in Pannonia.

  • 791-796 Charlemagne destroys the Avars who rule Carpathian basin.

  • 895 Pechinegs chase Hungarian tribes (led by Kurszan) out from around the Black Sea to the Carpathian basin.

  • 898 Magyar raids begin into central and Western Europe.

  • 902 Prince of Bavaria murders Kurszan at a banquet. Bavaria repeatedly raided until 907. Arpad leads Hungarian tribes, and makes position hereditary.

  • 933 Henry I, the Fowler, of Germany defeats Hungarian raids. The Hungarians turn elsewhere.

  • 937 Troops lead through Saxony and the Lorraine passing the Rhone valley and French and Italian Riveria.

  • 942 Troops pass through Lombardy, the St. Bernard Pass and attack Moorish Andalusia and raid Rome on their return home. The prayer heard commonly was, "Our Lord save us from the arrows of the Hungarians."

  • 955 Hungarian raiders suffer a crushing defeat by Otto I. The raiding stops. Taksony, Arpad's grandson, becomes chief prince.

  • 961 Taksony requests the pope to send a missionary bishop. He introduces an economic system based on the Carolingian system, and transformed court-run production and storage sites into permanent settlements. This helped to create a single Hungarian ethnic unit and weakened the tribal consciousness.

  • 973 Geza (972-99), Taksony's son, requests a missionary bishop from the Holy Roman Empire to break the power of the shamans.

  • 998-1038 Istvan I. Istvan builds one church for every ten villages, divides the country into different counties with ispans (deputies) to collect taxes, administer laws, etc.

  • 1000 Istvan, Geza's son, defeats Koppany (his uncle) for the throne and receives a crown from Pope Sylvester II.

  • 1003 Istvan incorporates Translyvania into Hungarian territory. All Hungarians were converted to Christianity, but no attempts were made to convert the Muslim or Jewish merchants.

  • 1008 Istvan opens a pilgrimage route leading to Jerusalem through Constantinople.

  • Istvan hosts Edward and Edmund Ironside of England. Many Hungarians follow them back and found Scottish noble families.

  • 1038 Istvan dies. Peter, his nephew, becomes King with the aid of Emperor Henry III.

  • 1038-1041 Peter I, ruled with German support.

  • 1041 Peter deposed and replaced by Samuel I

  • 1044 Samuel assassinated.

  • 1044-1046 Peter returns, and is assassinated in 1047.

  • 1047-1060 Andras I, also assassinated.

  • 1060-1063 Bela I

  • 1063-1074 Salamon I, deposed and killed in battle.

  • 1074-1077 Geza II

  • 1077-1095 Laszlo I. Enacted code of laws punishing crimes against property and life, codified protection of women and defined responsibilities of high dignitaries. Daughter becomes Empress Irene of Byzantium.

  • 1095-1116 Kalaman I, the book lover. Institutes laws of trial - the testimony of witnesses is the basis of all evidence, restricts ordeals by fire and water, differentiates between crimes of property and those of life, and banned witch trials.

  • 1116-1131 Istvan II

  • 1131-1141 Bela II

  • 1141-1162 Geza II

  • 1162-1163 Laszlo II

  • 1163-1172 Istvan III

  • 1163-1165 Istvan IV. Manuel I, Emperor of Byzantine, fosters Bela III (heir presumptive to Hungary in the hopes that he will gain Hungary as a vassal state.

  • 1172-1196 Bela III, as king in his own right, not as a vassal. Organized the Royal Chancellery, deeds and documents were now required for inheritance, indirectly spread literacy.

  • 1196-1205 Imre I

  • 1204-1205 Laszlo III

  • 1205-1228 Andrew II. Andrew completely mismanages and bungles the Hungarian people and the entire economy.

  • 1222 Golden Bull issued. It reforms the conditions on the country; it set limits on royal rights and prerogatives, and gave women rights in inheritance (but no property or titles).

  • 1228-1270 Bela IV

  • 1232 Christian clergy obtain banishment of Muslim and Jewish merchants.

  • 1228-1242 Mongol raids. 50-80% of Hungarian settlements destroyed and population exterminated. Massive reforms took place in land, military, and society. Stone forts built, military modernized, and the urban class was born.

  • 1270-1272 Istvan V. During Istvan's reign, the nobles began to openly fight each other. Royal power was equal to the strongest baronial faction.

  • 1272-1290 Laszlo IV, assassinated. The Holy See declared Hungary a vacant papal fief and gave the kingdom to Charles Robert of Anjou (descendant of Arpads through the female line). The Hungarian barons in open revolt of Holy See's action.

  • 1278 Hungarian troops helped Rudolph gain victory in Hungary with a young Ladislas IV and the emperorship establishing the Habsburg dynasty.

  • 1290-1301 Andras III elected king by the barons. Internal disorder broke the country up into independent districts ruled by groups of barons.

  • 1301 Hungary dissolves into semi-autonomous provinces but still retained a solid institutional framework that country remained unified politically.

  • 1301-1304 Venecesles III (a.k.a. Vaclav of Bohemia 1278-1305, and Waclaw of Poland 1300), descendant of Bela IV and fiancee of Andrew III's daughter. Venecesles III considered the situation in Hungary hopeless and left.

  • 1304-1308 Otto I, the grandson of Bela IV, he was captured by Laszlo Kan of Tranyslvania. Otto escaped to Bavaria in 1306.

  • 1308-1310 Chaos and confusion. No king or one strong leader.

  • 1310-1342 Charles Robert of Anjou. Charles Robert entered Hungary in 1301 and his followers crowned him king, but the barons questioned the legality of the kingship as the holy crown was not used. Slowly, little by little, Charles Robert won over the barons to his side.

  • 1310 Charles Robert crowned with holy crown. Charles Robert ended the anarchy that prevailed for decades and liquidated the power structure of the oligarchy that was becoming institutionalized.

  • 1320 Charles married Casimir III's of Poland sister.

  • 1323 Hungary was unified. Charles organized the Czech-Polish-Hungarian political agreement, that the three countries will come to the defense of the others and ended the constant battles between them.

  • 1342-1382 Louis of Anjou, King of Poland 1370-1382. Louis's brother Andrew married to Johanna of Naples and to be King of Naples.

  • 1343 Andrew denied crown and made prince consort. Mom, Elisabeth, freely lavished gold and silver for bribes and propaganda for Andrew.

  • 1345 Louis gains papal support and Andrew was assassinated in Naples. Louis marched to Naples 2 years later and conquered all of southern Italy. As soon as he withdrew, Naples revolted.

  • 1350 Louis conquers Naples again, and again when he leaves, Naples revolts.

  • 1351 Code of Louis -- confirmed the Golden Bull and specified that all "true" nobles living in the country were entitled to the same freedoms. "True" nobles owned land as freeholders, and nobles on Church granted land were not considered "true."

  • 1351 Law of Entail -- codifies military obligations of nobility, establishes that estates cannot be divided or given away.

  • 1382-1395 Maria

  • 1385 Charles of Durazzo, King of Naples, enters Hungary and crowned King of Hungary by the nobility, and was assassinated 35 days later. Mary and Elisabeth were taken captive.

  • 1385 Sigismund, Mary's betrothed, elected king and was able to release his wife in 1395.

  • 1389 First skirmishes with the Ottomans.

  • 1395 Sigismund calls upon the chivalry of Europe to fight the Ottomans.

  • 1396 Crusaders defeated at Nicopolis, International army large but undisciplined and lacked a central command.

  • 1400 Hungary loses approximately one third of its population to the Black Plague.

  • 1401 Sigismund taken captive by his own party and a baronial council ruled Hungary. This gave progress to the idea of the state being distinct from the ruler. Sigismund engineered his release by marrying Barbra Cillei, the daughter of the leading Hungarian baron.

  • 1408 Sigismund founds the Order of the Dragon with his faithful barons. It was based on the new aristocracy, the great landowners.

  • 1411-1437 Personal union of Hungary and Holy Roman Empire.

  • 1436-1437 Papal inquisitor, Minorite Giacomo di Marcia, found thousands of heretics to burn in Hungary.

  • 1437-1438 Uprising of Hungarian and Vlach tenets, settlers, urban poor, and petty freemen of Tranyslvania over the ability to pay tithe in coin and restriction of movement of the peasants.

  • 1433 Hungary loses Dalmacia to Venice.

  • 1437 Sigismund dies with only a daughter, Elizabeth, who is married to Albert of Habsburg.

  • 1438 Albert "elected" king and duly crowned.

  • 1439 Ottomans take Serbia, Albert dies of dysentery on the field. Elizabeth gives birth to Ladislas a few months later, and has her infant crowned. The Hungarian nobles elect Wladyslaw II of Poland king and crown him, civil unrest follows.

  • 1440-1444 Wladyslaw II of Poland elected King. Ladislas sent to Austria to be fostered by Habsburgs.

  • 1443-1444 Wladyslaw II and Janos Hunyadi lead the Hungarian troops to victory and recover some of the Serbian territory. Peace of Szeged.

  • 1444 Wladyslaw II, going on the advice from the papacy that "No promise to an infidel need be kept," crossed the Bulgarian border. Turkish army swiftly marched and defeated Hungarian- Polish army at Varna, taking Wladyslaw's life.

  • 1445 Hungarian Diet requests to Frederick III for the return of Ladislas and the territories occupied by the Habsburgs. They elect a council of Regency, which includes members of both Hunyadi and Habsburg families.

  • 1446 No Ladislas, Diet elects Hunyadi governor. He was given some royal rights, but was restricted in power.

  • 1450 Hunyadi enters into league with the Habsburg party and with Frederick III, which acknowledged Hunyadis governorship. 1453 Ladislas returned to Hungary and the royal government is restored. Hunyadi warns his sons to be cautious around Ladislas, as he might fear their popularity with the people.

  • 1444-1457 Laszlo V (a.k.a. Ladislaus of Bohemia 1440-1457)

  • 1455 Serbia again under Ottoman control. Ottomans besiege Belgrade. Peasants and townsfolk march to assist the Hungarian troops. The Ottomans broke off the siege and left the field.

  • 1457 Ladislas has Laszlo Hunyadi, Janos's eldest son, tried and executed, Ladislas dies a few months later.

  • 1458-1490 Matyas Corvinus, Janos's youngest son, elected king.

  • 1463 Emperor Frederick III adopts Matthias as his son and receives the right to inherit the throne of Hungary should Matthias die without a son (Matthias 23, Frederick III 43)

  • 1471 Matthias's closest supporters fear his growing power and offer the crown of Hungary to Kasmir of Poland. Matthias stifles the revolt with both diplomacy and force.

  • 1477 Matthias turns against Austria.

  • 1485 Matthias captures Vienna

  • 1487 All of lower Austria in Hungary's hands.

  • 1490-1516 Ulaszlo II (a.k.a. Wladislav II of Bohemia 1471-1516). The power of Hungary fell into the hands of the magnates. The Ottomans gain power and made frequent raids into Hungary.

  • 1505 Wladyslaw's son, Louis, betrothed to Mary, granddaughter of Maximillian, and Ferdinand of Habsburg to Anna of Hungary.

  • 1514 Archbishop Bakocz returns from Rome with a bull calling for a new crusade. Thousands of peasants join the crusade. The archbishop calls off the crusade when it begins to inflame the serfs. The peasants rebel. The peasant army is squashed and the Diet enacts laws that put the peasants into "eternal servitude" depriving them of arms and forcing them to pay extensive damages.

  • 1516-1526 Lajos II (a.k.a. Ludvik of Bohemia 1516-1526), killed in battle

  • 1520 Hungary refuses to renew the truce with the Ottoman Empire after the death of Sultan Selim I.

  • 1521 Ottomans take Belgrade, Sabac, and Zimony.

  • 1526 The Battle of Mohacs. The Hungarian army was annihilated within two hours. The Ottomans march into capital virtually unopposed. The Hungarian nobles elect two kings simultaneously with the death of Louis II at Mohacs, Janos Zapolyia of Tranyslvania and Ferdinand I of Bohemia. Janos Zapolyia held the advantage in Hungary and the Habsburgs were fighting two separate wars. Once Austria conquered Rome; they were able to take Hungary.

  • 1527-1563 Ferdinand I, King of Bohemia 1562

  • 1529 The Ottoman army occupied Buda for a second time and attempt to take Vienna.

  • 1529-1534 Aloise Gritti, a Venetian banker who was a favorite of the Sultan and the Grand Viser, is appointed treasurer, commander in chief, and regent over Hungary.

  • 1536 Ottomans move into eastern regions of Slavonia. Hungary becomes the battleground of two empires.

  • 1538 Treaty of Varad - Ferdinand was to inherit Zapolyai's lands but was obligated to defend the country with imperial forces.

  • 1539 Zapolyia marries Isabella, daughter of Sigismund I of Poland.

  • 1540 Isabella gives birth to a son, Zapolyia dies, the Bishop of Varad refuses to hand the country over to Ferdinand and has the infant elected King Janos II.

  • 1540 and 1541 Ferdinand attempts to take Buda.

  • 1541 Ottoman troops occupy Buda "to protect the infant King." The sultan assigns Isabella and Janos II the Principality of Translyvania.

  • 1543 Ottomans conquer Valpo, Siklos, Szekesfehervar, and Esztergam, providing them with a secure military routes for the Ottomans.

  • 1545 Ottomans conquer strongholds to provide a strong grip on Buda.

  • 1547 Emperor Charles V concluded a five year armistice with Sultan Suleyman. The armistice lasted four years.

  • 1550 Hungarians began to take some territory back, which forced peasants into a situation of double taxation, Royal Hungary and Ottoman Empire.

  • 1552 The Ottoman held zone ran through the center of Hungary.

  • 1563-1572 Maximillian, King of Bohemia 1526-1576

  • 1566 Suleyman orders Janos II to attack northern Hungary while his own army attacks on a separate front.

  • 1568 Second Peace of Edirne ended the war. This second peace accord merely reconfirmed the First Peace of Edirne in 1547. However, this peace treaty did not prevent local garrisons to wage skirmishes and gain territory.

  • 1572-1608 Rudolph

  • 1591-1592 Pasha of Bosnia attacks Croatia.

  • 1593 Pasha Sinan takes Gyor, considered the key to Vienna.

  • 1595 The Habsburg government organizes the Christian League against the Ottomans. The Translyvania legislature joins the league forcing the Ottomans to fight on two fronts.

  • 1598 Hungarian forces retake Gyor.

  • 1600 Internal dissension in both empires stalls any effective discussions or battles.


  • Davies, Norman. Europe: A History. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996

  • Laszlo, Gyula. "The Magyars of Conquest-Period Hungary." The Hungarian Quarterly 37: 141 (Spring 1995)

  • Lazar, Istvan. "Hungary: A Brief History." http://www.hungary.com/corvinus/lib/ lazar/index.htm

  • Macartney, C.A. "A Short History of Hungary." http://www.hungary.com/corvinus/ lib/macartney/index.htm

  • Palffy, Stephen. "A Brief History of Hungary." http://www.users.zetnet.co.uk/ spalffy/h_hist.htm#contents

  • Sugar, Peter. A History of Hungary. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1990

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